The Ultimate Car Seat Buying Guide

What makes Car Seats Safe?

Car seat manufacturers perform intensive crash tests on their products before putting them through a certification process to ensure quality. This means that you can be sure of your child’s safety when restrained within a car seat. These seats are designed after careful research and contain a number of safety features that play a vital role in ensuring your little one’s safety. The most important features that render car seats safe for your child are:
Click the labels for more information.
Standerd Car Seat front View
Standard Car Seat front View
Standerd Car Seat back View
Standard Car Seat back View

Other Safety Features of a Child Car Seat:

Seatbelt guides

Seatbelt guides

In some car seat models, you can secure your child via the car’s seat belt system. The seatbelt guides in such models ensure that the seatbelts are threaded through the seat so that your child is in the best possible position.

Side impact protection

Car seats with side impact protection, maintain the alignment of the baby’s head, neck and spine, in case of an accident. The energy-absorbing foam evenly distributes the force of the crash, keeping the baby safe. View Car Seats with Side impact protection
Side impact protection
Impact protection shield

Impact protection shield

An impact protection shield is equivalent in safety to a 5-point harness, but is shaped like a bar, and is placed across the chest and midsection of your baby. In case of an accident, it disperses the force away from your child, reducing the risk of injury. View Car Seats with Impact protection shield

Performance chest pads

In addition to dispersing the energy in case of a crash, these pads ensure that the baby is held securely and does not lurch forward.
Performance chest pads
Lateral headrests

Lateral headrests

The lateral headrests cushion the baby’s head from the sides, while keeping it in a central position- this is all the protection you’ll need when you hit those potholes.

Pitch control system

A pitch control system helps reduce your child’s forward movement in the seat3. This is especially useful in heavy traffic, where a lot of braking is involved and passengers are subjected to a lot of jerks. Also, in the event of an accident, this ensures that your child is not thrown forward.
Pitch control system
Removable pillow

Removable pillow

A baby’s head is extremely sensitive to shocks. A pillow offers added protection, so the back of his head remains protected no matter what the condition of the road.

Side wings

Side wings are those padded sections on the car seat that are about the height of the baby’s chest and shoulders. When seated, the baby gets to rest snugly between the padding, which means longer rides just became more comfortable.
Side wings
Multiple harness slots

Multiple harness slots

When choosing a taller model, look for well-spaced harness slots which can be raised as your baby grows. It is utmost important for the safety of the child to check that harness should be fitting your child snugly and is not too tight or loose. Some car seats feature as many as 3 sets, placed 1-2 inches apart. View Car Seats with Multiple harness slots

Head impact protection

Many car seats come with head impact protection, maintain the alignment of the baby’s head and neck in case of a collision. The energy-absorbing foam evenly distributes the force of the crash, keeping the baby’s head safe. View Car Seats with Head impact protection

Safety Harness

All car seats are essentially equipped with safety harnesses. There are several kinds of harnesses - padded, un-padded, height adjustable, etc.
5-point safety harness: This is to secure the baby through five straps. Two at the shoulders, two at the hips and one at the crotch, all connected through a buckle release mechanism.
3-point safety harness: This is a Y-shaped straps arrangement. Two straps securing both shoulders and one at the crotch. All are connected through a buckle release mechanism.
2-point safety harness: This is a lap belt that goes over the waist.
The safest one for your baby among these is the 5-point harness, as it ensures that your baby is restrained at shoulders, hips and pelvic region. This will take away the impact of the crash from baby’s more delicate parts.

Adjustable multi-recline position

Any angle less than 150 degrees will be unsafe for an infant, since babies can’t sit in an upright position until they’re about 6 months old. Be careful to note the various reclining angles before making your purchase.

Extra padded inner lining

Considering the many naps your baby will be taking in the car, you might want to spend a little extra attention on the car seat’s padding, especially if you’re considering a convertible, which you will end up using for a longer period.

Thermotex fabric padding

The padding in some car seats are made of breathable fabric, so whether it’s hot or cold, your baby will be dry and comfortable. (You’ll thank us later when you take that long road trip out of the city.)

Seat height

The general thumb rule is - the taller the model, the longer it’s likely to be in use. It’s only as your child grows older that weight becomes a primary consideration.

Wide age bracket

All factors, like build material, foam quality, etc., have an impact on the longevity of a car seat. When making your choice, consider the fact that plastic is less sturdy than metal, and EPS foam more brittle than EPP foam. However, all child car seats have an expiry date- 6 years on average- and will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer.

Weight capacity

As your baby grows older, he will start to get heavier, and not all car seats are designed to handle that equally well. If you’re buying a convertible/booster, it makes sense to look for higher weight capacity. All car seats come with a defined weight capacity, and it should be considered while making a choice.

Durable cover

Some covers are made of more durable fabric, which will increase the life of your car seat. Some even feature extra padding and extra protection for your car, with additional pockets for storage.

Multiple uses

Some car seats are built to double up as carry cots, rockers, can be integrated into pushchairs or used inside aircraft (although not all applications will be possible within the same model).

EPS(Expanded Polystyrene) / EPP(Expanded Polypropylene) Foam

EPS or Expanded Polystyrene foam (also found in bicycle helmets and portable freezers) absorbs energy, protecting the baby in case of a crash. Its more modern variant, EPP or Expanded Polypropylene foam, is more durable and flexible, making it the safer of the two options.

Absorbing material

Babies can get messy wherever they are, and the car is no exception. So whether you’re dealing with spilled fluids, wet pants or sweaty backs, an absorbent material for the base will ensure that your car seat stays dry, and the baby stays comfortable.

Combination of baby seat & child's car seat

Convertible car seats combine the features of both an infant carrier and a toddler car seat, although they lack the portability offered by an infant car seat.

Slim base

Some car seats have contoured, narrow bases, while others are flatter and broader. While broader is sometimes better, preferably the ones in the back. You’ll be better off if you first check the specifics of your car seats, before making up your mind.

Lightweight design

This feature applies to infant car seats, since those are likely to be the only ones you will be transferring to and from the car. But be careful when choosing an infant car seat for its weight alone. While lighter is more convenient, the sturdier, safer models are generally made of a tougher, more durable material.

Adaptable to wide variety of cars

The car seat should compatible to variety of the car, if the baby travels in your car, or your dad’s or your friend’s car, or for that matter in a cab. It helps to have a car seat that adapts well with multiple cars.

Aircraft approved

Some car seats are built to airline specifications, so the baby won’t have to deal with an ill-fitting seatbelt, and you won’t have any worries should you encounter turbulence. View Car Seats with Aircraft approved

Retractable ISOFIX connectors

ISOFIX – International Standards Organization Fix
This is a standard for attachment parts in a car. An ISOFIX connector is a fixed point on your car’s seat that anchors your child’s car seat. Since not every car has this facility, retracting them allows you to install the child car seat even in non-ISOFIX cars.

Seatbelt integration

Most boosters are built to integrate with the car’s seat belt system. Before making your purchase, just make sure that your booster seat comes with seat-belt adjusters, which will ensure that the belt is always in the right position, as your baby grows. View Car Seats with Seatbelt integration

5-function handle

The 5-function handle is especially handy for a carry cot-car seat combination, as it enables mounting, reclining, sitting, rocking and carrying.

Integrated diagonal seatbelt

This feature is exclusive to boosters, particularly backless boosters that use the car’s seat belt system to secure the baby. They provide a slot to insert and position the seat belt, so the car seat stays in place.

Harness retainer

The harness retainer secures the harness in place, so you can get your baby in and out of the seat without the buckle and harness getting in the way.

1-pull frontal harness adjustment

A frontal harness adjustment is a strap that lets you adjust the harness from the front. The single-pull mechanism makes it easy to adjust your baby’s position even while seated in the front seat (provided you can reach it, of course).

Seatbelt locking

Some car seats have an extra lock that engages with the car’s seat belt to secure the child more firmly. If you’re getting a booster seat, you won’t have to worry about this feature- the integrated diagonal seatbelt should do just fine.

Single-hand recline adjustment

If your car seat comes with the recline facility (boosters generally don’t have this feature), you would want something that’s easy to handle. Look for recline adjustments that mention ease of use, like single-hand recline adjustment.

Single button shoulder belt adjustment

Seat belts can get tangled, especially in case of booster seats. To fix this problem, some car seats have a shoulder belt adjustment, which while adjusting the harness for your child’s changing height, also helps keep the seat belt from twisting.

Easily removable washable covers

Babies are messy, and over time, the car seat’s covers will accumulate food crumbs, stains, dirt and eventually germs. So look for removable covers that are machine-washable.

Detachable seat cushioning

Some car seats take the detachable bit a step further, with removable padding that can be machine-washed at will.

LATCH System

The LATCH system (Lower Anchor and Tethers for Children) is a kind of car seat standard in western countries. A metal bar is mounted between the lower back portion of the car’s seat and cushion, and can be attached to the child car seat with special buckles. View Car Seats with LATCH System
FirstCry.com - Asia's Largest Online Baby and Kids Store, is India's largest online shop for new mom and baby products, offering top of the line discounts on renowned national & International brands. Some of the most reputed brands available on FirstCry.com include Chicco, Graco, BSA, Johnson & Johnson, Medela, Pigeon, Fisher - Price, FunSkool, Lego, Disney & Barbie. FirstCry.com offers the widest range to chose from, boasting of over 2 Lakh Baby & Kids Products. Customers can avail benefits of free Shipping as well as CoD(Cash on Delivery) on purchase from the website. © 2010-2024 www.FirstCry.com. All rights reserved. This website can be best viewed in resolution width of 1024 and above.